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Help:Cloud Services introduction

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A Poster showing some Wikimedia Cloud services statistics and services
Poster-format overview

Wikimedia Cloud Services (WMCS) provides tools, services, and support for technical collaborators who want to contribute to Wikimedia software projects. Use Cloud Services to host your software tools for the Wikimedia movement, without charge.

What can you do with Cloud Services?

Host tools on Wikimedia servers

Tools and bots make it easier to edit and maintain Wikimedia projects. For developers who support Wikimedia projects by developing tools and bots, Toolforge provides the following features:

  • Free, reliable, and scalable shared hosting, including web servers, databases and other data storage
  • A distributed job processing system
  • Support for multiple users to collaboratively maintain and manage tools

To use Toolforge you need:

  • Some programming knowledge
  • An understanding of Unix command line

To get started, visit Help:Toolforge. Or, learn more about creating bots.

Run scripts and visualize data

PAWS is a Jupyter notebook installation hosted by Wikimedia. PAWS notebooks can be used for creating tutorials, running live code, creating data visualizations, running basic bots, and more.

A single PAWS notebook is maintained by a single user, but they can be downloaded and forked by other users. To use PAWS you need only a Wikimedia login and a web browser. Knowledge of Python is helpful, but not required.

Administer servers for software development

Open source software projects help the Wikimedia movement by improving core infrastructure (like MediaWiki), powering research and analytics, and supporting Wikimedia operations and software development. For advanced projects that aren't viable in the Toolforge environment, Cloud VPS (Virtual Private Server) provides the following features:

  • Free cloud computing environment, powered by OpenStack
  • Collaboratively-owned collections of virtual private servers, storage, firewall, and HTTPS proxy resources to projects
  • Access to a variety of data services
  • Freedom to install packages not provided by Debian or the Wikimedia Foundation

To use Cloud VPS, you need:

  • An open source project that isn't viable in the Toolforge environment, or can't be accomplished using other WMCS offerings
  • One or more active project maintainers who meet basic requirements
  • Advanced programming knowledge
  • Advanced experience with Unix command line
  • The ability to administer your own servers and manage your project's applications, data, runtime, middleware, and operating systems

To get started, visit Help:Cloud VPS.

What is the difference between Cloud VPS and Toolforge?

Cloud VPS is an Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solution. It provides virtual machines, storage, firewall, and HTTPS proxy resources to projects. The members of each individual project are responsible for managing applications, data, runtime, middleware, and operating systems themselves. Cloud VPS projects use the domain wmcloud.org.

Toolforge is a Platform as a service (PaaS) solution. It provides web servers, databases, and a distributed job processing system as managed services for tool maintainers. Toolforge tools use the domain toolforge.org.

Access databases and data dumps

What is a wiki replica? What's in the dumps? Learn the basics of Wikimedia open data and how to access all available datasets at Research:Data.

Access wiki databases for tool development

Tools and software hosted on Toolforge and Cloud VPS can directly access public data dumps and production wiki replicas.

Query wiki replicas and dumps in a browser

  • PAWS provides a Jupyter notebook environment you can use to query wiki replicas and dumps, create interactive graphs, and use APIs for analysis.
  • Superset and Quarry are web interfaces for querying live replica SQL databases of public Wikimedia wikis.

To use Superset or Quarry you need only a Wikimedia login and a web browser, but you should have a basic understanding of SQL. Learn about SQL queries.

Which service is right for you?

Activity / Needs PAWS Superset Toolforge Cloud VPS
Data as a service Data as a service Platform as a service Infrastructure as a service
Write scripts and visualize data
Write queries against wiki replica databases ✔ via Toolforge
Access on wiki database dump files
Write and run bots ✔ if not viable on Toolforge
Run web services ✔ if not viable on Toolforge
Build tools to improve Wikimedia projects ✔ if not viable on Toolforge
Schedule or run continuous jobs ✔ if not viable on Toolforge
Need your own subdomain
Work with co-maintainers and co-admins
Install packages not provided by Debian or the Wikimedia Foundation
Administer your own virtual server
Platform / Environment web browser web browser terminal terminal
User knowledge curious—advanced curious—advanced intermediate—advanced advanced

Before you start

To use Cloud Services products, you must first create a Wikimedia account and a developer account.

Learn more

Communication and support

Support and administration of the WMCS resources is provided by the Wikimedia Foundation Cloud Services team and Wikimedia movement volunteers. Please reach out with questions and join the conversation:

Discuss and receive general support
Stay aware of critical changes and plans
Track work tasks and report bugs

Use a subproject of the #Cloud-Services Phabricator project to track confirmed bug reports and feature requests about the Cloud Services infrastructure itself

Read stories and WMCS blog posts

Read the Cloud Services Blog (for the broader Wikimedia movement, see the Wikimedia Technical Blog)